Category Archives: Disaster Assistance

Ukraine Emergency Appeal

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance(God) shall judge between the nations and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
— (Isaiah 2:4)

The current Russian invasion that started on February 24 follows eight years of conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country are enduring bombings and assault by Russian military forces; and have lost power, been cut off from water and fuel. As people head toward the western regions, there is a shortage of food and other basic supplies. The reports of displaced persons inside Ukraine continue to rise every day, already in the hundreds of thousands. The UN anticipates that as many as 6.7 million will be displaced internally. Likewise, Ukrainians are fleeing to neighboring countries, primarily to Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, while others have moved to other European countries. Again, current estimates from the UN are that the refugee numbers could also reach several million. These borders have remained open until now even as lines are growing.

Partners are raising particular concern for the women and young children who make up the majority of the refugees as many men are now barred from leaving the country. As part of the international humanitarian community, PDA urges that governments and non-governmental organizations provide assistance without discrimination due to concerns for the Roma and people of other nationalities who have also been displaced by the conflict.

In the midst of the chaos, there are sibling churches and ecumenical partners who are already providing assistance with basic items for survival. Initial assistance being provided includes shelter, food, clothing, blankets, baby food and diapers, other hygiene supplies, flashlights and candles, generators and fuel.

Our first priority is to provide funding to these partners on the ground. While the scale of this crisis is new, receiving refugees from Ukraine and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe is not, which means we have trusted, established partners with the knowledge and expertise to carry out this important work. In fact, One Great Hour of Sharing — the single largest way that Presbyterians come together every year to provide hope, help and relief — was started in response to refugees coming out of Europe.

Our response to the situation in Ukraine will include both financial and technical assistance as the network of faith communities providing humanitarian assistance grows in the months ahead.

The needs for the response will be great. God’s people are called on to stand in the “GAP” — Give. Act. Pray.GIVE. ACT. PRAY.

GIVE: Gifts can be made online, by calling (800) 872-3283, by texting PDAUKR to 41444, or by check made payable to Presbyterian Church U.S.A. with “DR000156-Ukraine” on the memo line. Mail to:

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
P.O. Box 643700
Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700

ACT:

  • Download the bulletin insert
  • Urge the U.S. government to support generous aid for refugees and civilians suffering in Ukraine, and call for engaging a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

PRAY: God of mercy, justice and peace

Our spirits are heavy with sorrow, our souls shocked
At the sudden and breathtaking violence,
the invasion of Ukraine by their neighbor, Russia.

We pray for lives caught in the grip of war,
who hear the bombs in the night,
the ominous movement of troops on the road into town
the whistle of incoming shells,
for a cry from a desperate neighbor or a shout of warning.
For those who huddle in subways and basements
or flee for the borders, clutching their children’s hands
We pray for families separated from fathers, brothers and sons
who must remain to fight and protect their homeland.

We pray for neighbors in Eastern and Central Europe
As their hearts and doors open to these refugees
That strained resources will become an abundance of hope
That fears and struggles with racism will yield to a generosity of profound welcome
That communities of faith within Ukraine will be protected from harm
and sustained in their efforts to feed and shelter their neighbors.
That peacemakers and protesters in Russia will be heard and their lives preserved.

May we undergird our prayers with tangible resources to help.
May we reach deeply, give generously, and welcome extravagantly.
May we lift our voices in a strong and unified advocacy.
May we all, even as we breathe in lament, breathe out mercy, hope and peace.
And in this Lenten season, when we walk the way toward death and resurrection, repent our complicity in cultures of violence and renew our efforts toward justice and peace.

–Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, Director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Presbyterians ready to help the Gulf Coast recover from Hurricane Ida

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance seeks to bring hope and healing after the Category 4 storm. You can help

by Rich Copley | Presbyterian News Service

Original Article Here

Radar image of Hurricane Ida

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Doppler radar imagery indicates that the eye of Ida made landfall along the southeastern coast of Louisiana near Port Fourchon around 1155 a.m. Central Time. (Photo courtesy of NOAA)

And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. — Romans 5:5

LEXINGTON, Kentucky  As news comes in of the devastating effects of Hurricane Ida in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is organizing a response that will help sustain life and restore hope in the coming days.

“Our hearts break and rise up in prayer for the people of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, where the catastrophic damage from last year’s hurricanes in Lake Charles, February’s freeze and spring flooding, along with the continuing impact of COVID are still largely unrepaired, and the burden on the people of this hard-hit state is overwhelming,” the Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, director of PDA, said Sunday. “The PC(USA) must stand with our siblings in the region as they seek to serve as wounded healers for those who have not had equitable access to rebuilding and whose vulnerability in the face of new threats is significant.

“Right now, we need the church’s prayers and financial assistance.”

Hurricane Ida made landfall as a Category 4 storm at approximately 11:55 a.m. Central Time Sunday near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, just slightly southwest of New Orleans, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph, according to The Weather Channel, causing significant flooding. Communities such as Shell Beach, Louisiana and Waveland, Mississippi reported storm surges of more than seven feet, and widespread power outages are being reported.

A slow-moving storm, Ida is expected to dump large amounts of rain as it works its way inland and across the Southeast in coming days.

PDA has reached out to presbyteries in the path of the storm to offer support and stands ready to assist.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is the emergency response and refugee program of the denomination, committed to the long-term journey of recovery of communities adversely affected by a crisis or catastrophic event. It is funded by One Great Hour of Sharing and has designated funds for responding to specific disasters.

Ida’s landfall comes on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in New Orleans. Last year, PDA staff and volunteers reflected on the years-long effort to aid in recovery from the historic storm.

“It was one of those transformational moments,” said the Rev. Jim Kirk, who was a National Response Team member at the time and now serves as PDA’s Associate for Disaster Response in the U.S. “One of the great things about people of faith is that in the face of overwhelming need, there is a deep calling to respond.”

To support recovery efforts in the wake of Ida, click here. You’ll be taken to the PC(USA) website to donate securely and quickly.

If you prefer to mail a check, you may send it to:

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

PO Box 643700

Pittsburgh, PA, 15264-3700

Please designate where you want the funds to go by writing DR000169 in the memo line.

You may also call Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time, at 1-800-872-3283 and donate by phone.

Follow Presbyterian Disaster Assistance on Facebook and Twitter for the latest information.

Give to One Great Hour of Sharing to enable Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to respond quickly to catastrophic events.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is one of the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Support PDA’s response to our neighbors in Haiti

The scale of the disaster facing Haiti after the Aug. 14 earthquake is becoming clearer. The quake and its aftershocks have left almost 1,500 people dead, thousands more injured and an unknown number of people are still missing. At least 13,000 homes were destroyed, and roads, bridges and communication systems have been severely damaged. This catastrophe comes on top of Haiti’s ongoing struggles with endemic hunger and poverty, COVID-19 and continuing civil unrest, and as Tropical Storm Grace bears down on the region.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is providing emergency relief and short-term recovery in the impacted areas through our established local partners and in collaboration with ACT Alliance and its members. The PC(USA), through PDA and together with regional World Mission colleagues, will remain active throughout the entire recovery process, accompanying our partners in the area as they determine long-term program needs and providing financial support for rebuilding and resilience.

The needs for the response will be great. God’s people are once again called on to stand in the “GAP” — Give. Act. Pray.
GIVE. ACT. PRAY.

GIVE: Gifts can be made online, by phone at (800) 872-3283, or by check, which can be mailed to Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15264-3700.

ACT:

  • Download and use the bulletin insert.
  • Share our Mobile Cause campaign link with your members.
  • Learn how you and your congregation can help families who have lost everything in the devastation. Stay informed and like us on Facebook, download resources and share updates with your congregation.

 

PRAY: As this earthquake continues to cause destruction and loss of life, please pray with us that the communities affected by this event and those offering assistance will be strengthened, have their needs met and be reminded of the hope found in God.

Hygiene Kits for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Mid KY Presbytery is again collecting items to be used in making Hygiene Kits for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. These kits are distributed to persons adversely affected by natural disaster.

Each kits contains 1 comb, 1 bar of soap, 1 hand towel, 1 washcloth, 1 nail clipper, 1 toothbrush and 10 bandaids.

Due to Covid they are having people collect items and box them. On May 14th they will get together safely at Beulah PC in Louisville and load these boxes into a truck which will take them to a distribution center in Arkansas. The kits will be assembled there from the supplies we send them. If it is not possible for folks to bring their items to Beulah PC, arrangements can be made for pick up.

If any church or group wants to collect items, please contact Linda Reichenbecher at (502) 802-1908 or LJR920@nullgmail.com. Monetary donations are also happily accepted. Checks can be made out to the Presbytery of MidKY with designation of “hygiene kits”, or donation can be made through the link on our web site.

COVID-19: Finding Information and Resources

Updated: 02/05/2021

Council Guidance on In-Person Worship 2.5.2021 – Click Here

All Presbytery Council guidance is collected here.
Resources for Congregations may be found here.

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources for Congregations and Members

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have compiled a series of resources for congregational leaders and members. It’s available here: https://www.pcusa.org/covid19/

COVID-19 Legislation Overview: A Guide for Presbyterian Churches and Ministers

OGA web mapping tool to show COVID-19 confirmed cases

Additional Sources of information:

Check these sites regularly, as information is subject to change.

Emergency student loan management enacted during COVID-19 crisis

Original article on presbyterianmission.org

PC(USA)’s Financial Aid for Service: Payments on eligible federal student loans are suspended through Sept. 30

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

Melonee Tubb, the associate for Financial Aid for Service, is photographed during worship in the Chapel at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville. (Photo by Rich Copley)

LOUISVILLE — New resources from the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Financial Aid for Service provide guidance on how to manage one’s student loans, now that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) has been signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Melonee Tubb, associate for FAF, said what people need to know right away is that they could be “off the hook’” for their federal student loan debt through Sept. 30.  The new law automatically suspends payments on eligible loans for six months, with no interest accrued.

By law, lenders have until Easter weekend to alert borrowers that their payments have been suspended.

Under the CARES legislation, loans made under the Federal Direct Loan Program that are eligible for suspended payments include Direct, Subsidized, Unsubsidized, PLUS, and Consolidation loans. Payments for loans acquired through the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP), transferred to the Department of Education, are also eligible.

Tubb said people with a FFELP loan should check immediately because those loans managed by a private bank or institution aren’t eligible for automatic suspension.  Federal Perkins Loans managed by universities and any private loans are also not eligible under the CARES ACT.

“If you are having trouble making payments and have one of these ineligible loans, call your servicer immediately,” she said. “Some servicers are offering additional emergency deferment or forbearance options.”

The bottom line: Tubb encourages those with student debt to contact their servicer to find out more about how the new law will impact them. For example, Tubb said anyone working towards public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) or loan rehabilitation will get additional relief under the CARES legislation.

“Their suspended payments will be treated as if the borrower made the payments and count toward the 120 payments necessary for forgiveness,” she said.

Additional information on how the CARES Act might impact your federal student loans and tips on how to manage student loan debt during emergencies can be downloaded here.


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